Disc Brake Hype

Disc brake

If you are contemplating purchasing a road bike or you perhaps fervently peruse cycling magazines and websites for the latest bike porn, without doubt you have been exposed to a deluge of hype about road disc brakes. I’m here to disabuse you of the marketing drivel and share a real world user’s experience.

My experience with road disc brakes goes way back to 2003 long before road disc brakes were a thing. I met a Swiss cyclist from Zurich who had a custom Ericksen road bike with disc brakes, which at the time was a real rarity. I disparagingly asked him why he bothered with discs. He said, “It snows in Zurich and I ride year-round.” Oh. Made sense. If you’ve ever tried to brake in snow or sleet, you know how unreliable and scary it can be with rim brakes. Well, actually it’s scary regardless of the brake type but it’s especially scary with rim brakes. As I also commuted to work by bike, the idea was planted. In 2005 I got a cheap road bike that was EOLed by the manufacturer and it had Avid mechanical disc brakes—probably because no one was buying road bikes with disc brakes back then. It was an experiment perhaps motivated by a specific need. I commuted to work by bike rain or shine. My beater commuter bike often was a filthy mess despite having fenders, partly due to rim brakes. The black brake pads shed material and filth; add water and you have a black, oily slime all around your wheels and frame. Since I was carrying my bike up and down BART stairs, I was getting filthy too. I also was hoping that the braking would be more consistent when it rained; I had already gone down once in the rain due to being unable to tell when the rim brakes were going to lock up. Disc brakes do have a reputation for powerful braking but I just needed to have a consistent feel so that I wouldn’t brake too much or too little.

Roger and I had also been riding a tandem with Avid mechanical disc brakes. Due to the increased mass of two riders, with rim brakes you can produce so much heat during long downhills that you can blow the tire right off the rim. That happened to a friend on his single bike on a long, steep downhill in the Alps and we were also aware of a tandem that did blow its tires on a hairy, steep technical descent in Switzerland leading to copious road rash and a trip to the hospital for the duo. I’m a firm believer in disc brakes for tandems when you’re riding in mountainous terrain.

I now have a road bike that has the latest and greatest Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. The brakes are very nice—they stop the bike, require little hand force to produce immense braking whether dry or wet, and have reasonable modulation. There really aren’t any significant downsides purely with respect to braking. But are they that much better than good rim brakes? Well, yes and no. In dry conditions I find that rim brakes, especially Campagnolo brakes, provide really excellent modulation even if they do require more hand force. Shimano and Avid disc brakes modulate well in the middle but as you get near the lock up point the braking curve suddenly goes up. This is really noticeable with metal/sintered brake pads but less so with resin pads.

Then why did I get them? Because I am running big tires. Current Shimano rim brakes top out at about 28mm tires; older generation brakes—and that’s all that I have—can rarely fit around a 28 mm tire and usually top out at 26 mm if you’re lucky––the tires are just too big to fit under the brake arch. That’s partly a frame problem because until recently major bicycle companies thought no one riding a decent road bike was going to use anything bigger than a 25 mm tire. If you ran big tires, then you had to use “long reach” rim brakes, cantilever brakes, or V-brakes. Over the years I’ve used them all and guess what: they work quite well at stopping. So-called long reach side pull brakes actually have really good modulation but they do require more hand force. But they are not uncomfortable on the road to use even for prolonged periods. Cantilevers and V-brakes can stop on a dime just like disc brakes but they use also brake pads and so shed muck and that wouldn’t work for my commute. In an ironic turn Shimano has made their newest rim brakes so powerful that they stop like disc brakes. But I find their modulation is worse than their hydraulic brakes or their older road brakes. They have so much force in a short pull that I’ve had to relearn how to control them.

When reviewers go gaga over hydraulic brakes what are they getting at? Probably the reduction in hand force that to them feels like better modulation. But 99% of the braking you’re going to be doing is exactly what you’ve been doing to date. Do you often think your brakes are underpowered, lack modulation, or just plain suck? For most of us the answer is no. I do think a reasonable case can be made for very heavy bikes such as cargo bikes or e-bikes and very heavy cyclists. Also if you regularly do crazy long and steep downhills or ride in the rain a lot, then disc brakes are extra insurance against blowing a tire or skidding and crashing. But these are not everyday concerns unless you live in the Alps or Dolomites or live in the Pacific Northwest. Even for descending Mt. Diablo or Mt. Umunhum standard road rim brakes are perfectly fine. And how many of you ride your bike regularly in the rain?

Often you’ll see in reviews that the big minus with hydraulic disc brakes (usually no one mentions mechanical disc brakes anymore) is the added weight. The extra weight is probably just under a pound but I don’t think that’s the real problem with disc brakes. What they don’t mention is the extra maintenance that disc brakes incur. If you want to read an in-depth explanation of exactly what maintenance they do require, go here and here.

In my experience disc brakes require frequent and more complex maintenance than rim brakes. Rim brakes are relatively easy to take care of. It’s trivial to replace brake pads, and I usually go years before needing to replace pads despite riding lots of miles. Setting the pads the correct distance from the rim is also a snap. Disc brakes are another matter altogether. Although the pads cost about the same as rim brake pads, they wear through much more quickly and that means you’ll be replacing them often. Resin pads, which are the preferred type, wear very quickly; I’m getting about 2-3,000 miles per brake and having to replace them at least once a year front and rear (note: and I’m light!) The rotors wear out too. With rim brakes you will wear out rims eventually but it’s many years (about 25-40,000 miles in my case). But I’ve discovered that Shimano rotors wear out in about a year of riding. And they’re not cheap, running $60-90 each. Rotors also warp easily. Massive heat from hard, long braking seems to cause rotors to go out of true. You can also accidentally bump the rotor or lean it against something. The distance between the pads and the rotor is so minute, a few millimeters, that minor warpage means the rotor rubs against the pads usually with a grating, annoying squeak. You can true rotors with a rotor tool but I find it’s much harder than truing spokes in a wheel. Finally, replacing a brake cable is super easy for rim brakes. But bleeding a hydraulic line is a tedious process and you’d better have read the instructions carefully for your brakes because there are nuances in how you bleed your brakes depending on the model. At the moment I’m tearing my hair out over inconsistent piston retraction on the front brake. One of the two pistons doesn’t retract quickly after use so I often get a rasping squeak that only goes away when the piston slowly retracts

Of course if you don’t do your own bike maintenance—which seems to be the trend these days—then you escape the hassle. But your shop bills are going to increase instead.

So before you buy that next bike with disc brakes, think: are you ready to trade the convenience and low cost of rim brakes for the complexity, more frequent maintenance, and higher cost? If you’re going to be riding the same old roads, you are gaining weight and cost for what? Road disc brakes do make sense if want to go up to bigger tires, you ride in the wet a lot, or you need to stop a lot of weight. The other application that make more sense to have disc brakes is if you’re riding on fire roads and trails with your road bike: essentially you’re mountain biking on a road bike and the reduced hand force of disc brakes will definitely feel welcome. It’s no surprise that disc brakes are de rigeur for mountain biking. I have an old mountain bike with cantilever brakes and my hands do get tired and crampy. Now, I do like my hydraulic brakes and the extra weight means little to me. But I’m spending more time futzing with them than I did with the worst rim brakes I’ve ever owned. It’s a pain. And rotor rub just becomes a fact of disc brake life—for some it’s easily ignorable but for me it’s a princess-and-the-pea problem: the noise drives me crazy. There is one other advantage to disc brakes: if your wheel goes out of true—whether it’s due to a broken spoke, tacoing the rim, or “just riding along”, you can usually keep riding to get home. With rim brakes you’ll have to do some serious wheel truing by the side of the road/trail or else call a taxi.

World’s Longest Road Closure: Crystal Springs Dam Road

So, who among you remembers cycling across Crystal Springs Dam Road? If you don’t, it’s no surprise because we are approaching the 8th anniversary of its closing. Yes, Crystal Springs Dam Road has been closed for eight years: it closed on October 21, 2010—can you believe it? Admittedly the reason for the ridiculously prolonged closure is not entirely bogus. The construction of the replacement dam, which sits on the San Andreas Fault, had to be done conservatively. But as with Calaveras Road there is something about major public works projects that almost always causes them to spiral out of control and blow their timelines. The number of times San Mateo County Public Works has had to revise the opening date is embarrassing. I just glanced online and saw one estimate as “2017”. Seriously? We are almost two years later!

The last estimate of reopening was September 2018 but at the last minute it was pushed back to “mid-October”. Their webpage hasn’t been revised since and we are now just past mid-October and there isn’t even an announcement of a date for the “grand reopening ceremony”. In other words, they’ve blown their deadline again and we haven’t a clue as to when they will reopen it. I emailed the Senior Civil Engineer, Carter Choi, a few days ago about a revised estimate and surprise, surprise I haven’t heard a thing (I didn’t hear from him when I asked the same question in August—I guess he’s too busy “working” to answer his email). I just called SM Public Works and their receptionist says “mid-November”. Of course the engineers weren’t available to talk.

So how believable is that “mid-November”? Does shit even get done at public agencies near the holidays??

San Mateo’s repeated bad estimates mirror that of another public agency, BART. The Warm Spring extension was initally projected to open in 2014, five years after groundbreaking. It didn’t open until 2017, three years late. We are now awaiting the opening of the two stations just to the south, Milpitas and Berryessa. Both were scheduled to open in December 2017. Then there were problems integrating the new electrical control system to the old existing system, and that pushed the opening to June of this year, which didn’t happen, and the new opening was set for maybe the end of 2018 but probably more like early 2019. (Didn’t they run into those same system issues with the Warm Springs station? If so, why didn’t they revise their timeline before?) So now they’re three years behind schedule for Berryessa.

Now comes word that equipment was installed in the two stations that was not “compliant” (they were used and not new) and has to be removed, replaced, and then tested again. Now the rough estimate is Milpitas and Berryessa won’t open any earlier than “late 2019”. The Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority has requested a FTA extension with a deadline to begin service of December 31, 2019. Of course they could easily refile for another extension. Earlier this year we were thinking we could use Milpitas BART to get to the start of the Mt. Hamilton in the Fall ride. That is off the table for next year as well.

We have no inkling as to the actual sequence of events that leads to these delays. Why do agencies continue to mouth overly optimistic opening dates? They should know from previous miscalculations that the error is, say, roughly three years and then add that to their public announcements. One wonders if the delays are due to truly unforeseeable circumstances or whether it is really due to mediocre oversight of contractors and/or inept planning.

Will I even be alive when BART opens these stations??

Jersey Ride Notes

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David Gaus led this month’s Jersey Ride. Besides David it was Roger Sayre, Roger and I, and guest David. We did a few nice diversions from the usual route, the Corte Madera-Larkspur path around the Corte Madera Shopping Center, and because it was a beautiful day after lunch we also trucked up into Belvedere to catch the great views of Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge, and finally instead of returning on Washington Blvd. through the Presidio, we dropped down Battery Caulfield to 14th and then back to Golden Gate Park. There were a billion other cyclists out and about.

Since the June Jersey Ride the City of Tiburon actually repaired significant sections of Paradise Drive. It’s not a full repaving instead being a patchwork of long sections of road that now have pristine asphalt. There are still degraded bumpy sections but it’s a lot less jarring (and annoying) than before. Wow. Maybe someone read the ChainLetter blog and saw my complaint! The other notable improvement was the return on the Bridge. It’s still jammed full of visitors looking uncertain, steering their rental bikes the way a fish swims upstream. but this time it seemed less dangerous. The equipment bulb-outs are still egregiously wide but perhaps the brisk breeze deterred the tourists from literally casting their fate to the wind because I saw not one with a phone or selfie stick in hand as they pranced across. I still wonder how many ambulance calls are made on weekends for the west sidewalk though.

Waistlines not Pacelines

Gaumenkitzel food
Oktoberfest training

Whatever illusions you might harbor about being able to Consume Mass Quantities because you cycle your pretty ass off, the truth of the matter is that bad eating habits are just that regardless of how praiseworthy your Strava KOMs/QOMs might be. There are a lot of cyclists (and runners and triathletes and swimmers and…) who regard their exercise as carte blanche to indulge in uninhibited voracity. For some Spokers having discovered they like to ride bikes is like a second Coming Out. But instead of the bathhouses it’s the nearest Burger King. And lord knows there are a lot more BKs and KFCs out there than there are saunas. Cycling might do wonders for your cardiovascular system. But weight? I’m not so sure. Cycling’s ugly secret is that riding often means more hunger and that means more eating with little effect on your waistline. You didn’t know cycling is a zero sum game, did you?

You know how those pro racers stay so trim? It isn’t just mega miles—it’s also adhering to very restricted diets. You know, the kind of diets you used to try and you absolutely hated. As in: being hungry all the time! Those low body fat numbers come from serious pushing back from the table and that takes real will power. Which is why cycling with the goal of becoming fabulously thin is elusive. Somehow the effort of cycling is supposed to supplant the effort of not eating while hungry. Hmm.

Which brings us to how we ended up at Gaumenkitzel last weekend for Oktoberfest. There are no illusions on Social A rides that your butch quotient is going to go up nor is there the sense that you’ll be able to throw giant wads of spaeztle or potato salad down your gullet without consequences. On Social A rides hedonism isn’t given an excuse, it’s a fact of life! No need to do penance for sin—we just sin with abandon. Our inclinations are distinctly Dionysian rather than Catholic. And that supermodel who claimed that “Nothing tastes as good as the way thin feels” is laughably disproved every time we eat at Gaumenkitzel: thin doesn’t stand a chance against the delicacies from the kitchen there! German food is the new thin.

The ride to Gaumenkitzel started with a single pedal stroke. And given the lack of hills—well, there were two actually—it didn’t take a whole lot more than that to get there. There’s the hill over St. Stephens between Lafayette and Orinda and then the short, nasty hill in El Sobrante just before the Starbucks hovers into sight. The ride was an exercise in herding cats, with one person after another missing the start and then missing the meet-up point. When all was said and done Roger and I were eventually joined by Suzan, Thomas, and David Goldsmith, with Roy and Bill just giving up and not making it. David’s husband Chris met us at Gaumenkitzel. He’s obviously a very bright person because he figured out that absolutely no cycling was necessary to enjoy Gaumenkitzel. The ride down the Ohlone Greenway didn’t take long—it’s a straight shot being underneath the elevated BART tracks. It’s a corridor well used by cyclists and pedestrians to get around the East Bay suburbs, not unlike the Iron Horse or the Contra Costa Canal trails. It’s perfect for leisurely cycling but you’re not going to set any speed records on it nor should you given its mixed use.

At Gaumenkitzel our table was waiting. The menu had a few Oktoberfest specials. Roger and I had to indulge in their German potato salad with pickled carrots and pork patties (it tasted much better than it sounds!). Chris had their delicious Jagerschnitzel. David had a plate piled with sausages. Others were more restrained. The food was delicious and filling. It was the kind of food you lingered over and definitely not something to dine and then dash off. Fortunately it was a short, flat roll from there to Rockridge BART requiring just enough effort to forestall food-induced lassitude. It was miles ahead of Burger King in taste but in calories probably not any less. Too bad Strava doesn’t have food KOMs!

San Francisco Water Torture

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Photo courtesy photos-public-domain.com.

Warning: this is an insipid rant.

Everything was “set” for the reopening of Calaveras Road, right? Until it wasn’t. After getting multiple assurances from SF Water that it really, really, really was going to reopen on Sunday, September 30, David Gaus beat me to the punch and posted a ride traversing it that day. That’s cool–we’re going to ride Calaveras, finally! Today I get an email from SF Water that, well, Calaveras really isn’t going to open on 9/30 after all. But it really, really, really will reopen Friday, November 2! Unless it isn’t. [Update: it’s now set to open on Saturday November 3.]

That’s been the story for a long time. SF Water always finds some reason not to open Calaveras. Although the closure is an inconvenience, what is more than irksome is the repeated obfuscation on the opening date and then reneging. Like a kid who just can’t stop lying, there’s little credibility in their press releases.

This is the last major road in Northern California that has not reopened after the winter of 2016-17. Even Highway One, which was inundated by over three million cubic feet of landslide was cleared and rebuilt before Calaveras. The winter damage to Calaveras was certainly a convenient excuse for SF Water to shut down the road to all traffic so they could try to catch up on their way-behind-schedule dam reconstruction.

Hey, SF Water, Calaveras is not your private road.

The Bleeding Edge of Old Fartdom

On the most recent Social A ride the topic of conversation was…retirement. On club rides you never know what you’ll end up chatting about. More often than not it’s the usual stuff—bike porn, catching up with recent life events, and politics. When I was younger it was usually a running commentary on the hot men we saw as we pedaled along, club gossip, and who was too hung over from partying last night that they missed the ride. But on this ride we broached a topic that never would have passed our lips in the early days of the club. Boy, have things changed. Back in the day the senior crowd in Different Spokes was really small. Only Walter Teague and Gene Howard and maybe a few others were retired due to age. I wouldn’t say the club was uniformly young, but the age distribution was probably centered on the mid-thirties. That isn’t the case anymore and it wasn’t the case on this ride! We were a decidedly older group even if we weren’t all retired.

What provoked the talk was Roy’s imminent retirement and move to Thailand. Retirement may be common but moving overseas to enjoy it much less so. He’s been planning it for years and he’ll be heading for that distant shore this fall. Perhaps we’ll see a local chapter of Different Spokes soon in Chiang Mai? Joe and Lamberto are talking about retiring to Panama or maybe Colombia so notes had to be shared with Roy. Why Thailand? What’s the cost of living? Weather? Many ex-pats there? etc. etc. Roger and I commented on the numerous retired Americans we saw in Costa Rica enjoying the tropical clime and idling away the day playing duplicate bridge. Howard chimed in with his research on retirement communities in the Bay Area. Tiring of maintaining his home he’s thinking of following the Den Daddy’s lead and ditching the single family dwelling with all its irksome repairs and unexpected expenses for essentially a condo that the association maintains so that he can enjoy his idle hours in play rather than work.

In what has to be a record that one topic consumed the *entire* ride and it was the most voluble and chatty Social A ride in history!

Pool Party Proves Perfect

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Roger and I—as well as those who participated last year—breathed a sigh of relief when the weather forecasts for the Orinda Pool Party & Ride all came in with moderate temperatures. Last year we endured a sweltering 100+ F day that had the girlie men and manly girls cowering in the shade licking the last drops of water from their bottles; we even took an emergency rest stop at a convenience store to stick our heads in the refrigerated coolers and buy additional cold drinks. In complete contrast this year we had perfect weather from start to stop. Those who came from locales without a real summer gasped in awe at the sunshine and lack of fog we have regularly here in Contra Costa. Some remarked that they saw shadows for the first time in months; others with pale and ghostly complexions finally understood what “sunscreen” was needed for. No need for windbreakers yet no need to break into an unsightly sweat either—it was Goldilocks weather.

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Fourteen came to ride and due to the lack of a suitable volunteer to lead the Daddy route, it was summarily cancelled with nary an objection. Those who expressed an interest in proving their girlihood by tackling Daddy were either too intimidated or awed by Daddy’s very big—some would say Huge—climbs and decided that they’d rather have a date with the Twink whose charming good looks were much more appealing than Daddy’s rough demeanor. Pinehurst was beautiful as ever with its towering redwoods providing the illusion that one was riding in Humboldt rather than in the center of the Bay Area. The sun broke out over Oakland and Berkeley as we rode along Skyline and Grizzly Peak Blvd providing beautiful vistas both west and east (well, except for the layer of smoke ominously hanging over Contra Costa). Roger Sayre and David Goldsmith did leader duties and kept everyone safe and in line by cracking their feather boas. Back at the manse Roger and Jim completed final decorations to have the lunch setting suitable for kings and queens. Nine additional folks decided that riding didn’t seem nearly as alluring as reclining on a chaise longue by the pool with a fabulous view of the garden. When the riders arrived almost everyone ended up in the pool for more than a refreshing dip—it looked like actual conversations were happening—and lingering by the pool became the highlight of the day despite the lack of hunky pool boys and girls to entertain by cleaning the pool…slowly.

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Those of you who had better roads to ride missed out and you’ll just have to wait until next summer. Maybe there will be a menu refresh too…

Road Tubeless Update

Schwalbe Pro One tire
Schwalbe Pro One, 700×28, on Hed Belgium Plus rim

For almost two years I’ve been running road tubeless tires on my bike and I’ve commented about my experience here and here. It’s been an experiment on several fronts. In addition to using tubeless tires I have also been using sealant, which is optional although often recommended. I have the tires set up on HED Belgium rims, which at 25 mm are much wider than standard road rims usually at 20 mm. This allows the tires to take less of a “lightbulb” shape and actually increases the volume of air. This means I can run lower pressure and get a cushier ride. Whereas I usually run rims about 85 to 105 psi, I have been running the front tire at 45-50 psi and the rear tire at 55-60 psi without risk of bottoming or a pinch flat. Finally I’ve been riding on fire roads and some easier mountain bike trails with these tires despite running a strangely low spoke count of just 28 (32 is most common). The tires are Schwalbe Pro One, which are nominally 28 mm in width but on the wider rims they measure out about 30 mm. I think the only person in the club running a fatter road tire is Nancy on her 32 mm Continentals!

The bottom line is that these tires have been reliable after the initial teething issues I wrote about and have held up well on dirt. I’ve put almost 3,300 miles on these wheels and the tires are still going strong. I’ve had only two noticeable punctures both in the rear tire. I say “noticeable” because it is possible I’ve had more punctures but they may have sealed so quickly that I never saw them. That said I do check my tires after nearly every ride for signs of sealant, embedded objects, and lowered pressure and I haven’t noticed any other punctures. But two punctures in nearly two years is low for me. So I am guessing that in reality I have had other punctures but the sealant took care of them so quickly that I never had to deal with them.

At this point I can cautiously recommend tubeless for road. The main convenience is the ability to ride even after a puncture and without having to stop and replace a tube. The main inconvenience is getting sprayed with sealant after a puncture; fortunately sealant seems to be easy to wash out of clothes and it’s fairly easy to remove from your bike. If you run fenders, which I did in the winter, then you won’t have this problem. There is a problem that I yet to encounter but is a distinct possibility: getting a tire gash or a large puncture that sealant cannot plug. Guess what? You either walk home, call for help, or put in a new tube. If you’re the Boy Scout type, you’ll still be toting a spare tube, pump, and levers thus obviating any weight reduction by going tubeless. (You’ll need to carry a pump regardless because you never know how long it will take a puncture to seal. In one case the tire was down to 28 psi before sealing!) By the way putting a tube into a tire coated with sealant is messy, so pack a couple of latex or nitrile gloves too. You may have read about struggles others have had with tight beads on tubeless tires making it difficult or impossible to mount a tire. I haven’t had any issues with my set up.

The last thing I’ll say if you are contemplating going tubeless is that the paeans you read in cycling rags about the ‘magic carpet ride’ of tubeless road tires—“it’s like riding sewups!” is greatly overstated. Good tubeless tires have heavier casings than regular clincher tires and that makes the ride less supple. Another wheelset I have, which is very similar to my tubeless set, has expensive Michelin tires and latex inner tubes and it has an even cushier ride that IS just like setups! Of course when I get a flat on these tires it’s all old-school repair. But it’s clearly the better ride despite not being tubeless. An increase in comfort is primarily going to be function of the sophistication of the casing and the inflation, not because it’s tubeless.

The First Gay Pride

DSSF 1983 Parade
Our 1983 Parade Float with Spokers

The year was 1983 and the club had only been in official existence a few months, since November 1982. But the Founding Daddies & Mamas had a goal to have Different Spokes participate in the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Parade. Mission accomplished! Our “float” may have been decidedly homemade but it fit in with the ethos of the club, plus we didn’t have money anyway. From the August 193 ChainLetter:

“The Sunday Decide & Ride on June 26 was already decided for us nearly a year ago when we established as a long-range goal our club’s participation in the 1983 Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Parade. Rising at the crack of dawn, nearly 30 of us assembled at our South of Market “slot” in the parade at 9:00 a.m. and began decorating our bikes and our bodies for that glorious gait down Market Street and all the gaiety that lay ahead. Dick’s truck, topped off with all the great looking bikes, added an element of butch appeal to our motley crew! Our buddy Hal kept a tight reign [sic] on things, his tail perched on the tailgate of Dick’s truck and his broken leg cast out to the thousands! Meanwhile, our mobile members pedaled continuous rings around the truck as we paraded down S.F.’s main drag, all the way to Civic Center, flashing all the way! Shay, David, and Ron spent the day at the booth and reported a lot of interest shown in the club as a result of all the fanfare. Thanks to Dick for the use of his truck, to Bob, Derek, and Peter for engineering the affair, to Lenny for securing the contingent monitors, to David for setting up the booth, to Shay for Parade Committee liaison, to Bianchi/Vespa for sponsoring us and providing our sign, and to everyone who participated in any way to make the Parade such a big success! It was a parade unlike any other I have ever seen, except the 1980, 1981, and 1982 Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Parades…the difference was that you WERE THERE (and Walter Cronkite wasn’t for a change)…And we were SINsational!”

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Hal Baughman (broken leg) on our float

The club T-shirts had just been designed by Michael John (D’Abrosca) and everybody was sporting them. We did not have a jersey yet.

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Jamie, a very young Den Daddy, two others, and Dick Palmer

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Jamie—love the mullet!—Luis, and Curtis